Six things you (probably) didn’t know about John Mahama

He exudes the confidence of a politician who has it all figured out. Many people view him as a noble man, and he has proven himself as such

John Dramani Mahama is a former Ghanaian president, parliamentarian, communications expert and historian.

He exudes the confidence of a politician who has it all figured out. Many people view him as a noble man, and he has proven himself as such.

Millions of Ghanaians who voted for Mahama to become president in 2012 are still considering voting for him again, if he decides to return in the lead up to the 2024 elections. He has changed public opinion in his favour by being an orator.

Whether you despise or admire him, there is no denying the latest grandfather in town has earned for himself respect across the globe.

Despite being a prominent figure for the majority of his life, you may have missed out on these lesser-known facts about Mahama:

1. Product of GHANASCO (Tamale)

Mahama had his primary education at the Accra Newtown Experimental School before going to boarding school at Achimota Primary School. And then completed secondary school education at Ghana Secondary School (Tamale, Northern Region). 

2. Born a Presbyterian 

He is a Christian, born and raised a Presbyterian but is now a member of the Assemblies of God, Ghana by marriage. His family is multi-faith, consisting of Christians and Muslims.

3. A successful farmer

One of his investments is a poultry farm. He has also indicated plans to engage in full-scale cocoa growing.

Farming reigns supreme in Mahama’s family line. His father was a keen farmer who immersed himself in large-scale commercial agriculture immediately after quitting active politics.

He readily admits that it’s his father who mentored him by applying various farming skills. He still proudly transfers his knowledge and experience of agriculture to his own children.

4. Honours and awards

Mahama has received an honorary doctorate in the field of public administration, from the Ekiti State University of Nigeria, formerly affiliated to Obafemi Awolowo University, in recognition “of his political-socio economic development of Ghana and Africa” at various stages in his political career.

Later the same university passed a resolution to name its faculty of management science after him.

The Cuban government, recognising Mahama’s relentless advocacy for the Cuban cause, namely for the lifting of the 50-year economic embargo on the communist country and for the freedom of the detained Cuban five by the United States government, conferred on him the Friendship Medal.

The General Council of Assemblies of God, Ghana honoured Mahama with its Daniel Award as well.

The Graduate School of Governance and Leadership also awarded him the African Servant Leadership Award while the Institute of Public Relations recognised him with a prize for his leadership acumen and technocratic flair.

In 2013, the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) conferred on Mahama the Africa Award for Excellence in Food Security and Poverty Reduction. In March 2016 University of Aberdeen held a special convocation to confer an honorary degree of Doctors of Laws (LLD) degree on him.

Mahama has also attended numerous conferences and won many fellowships, including a study as a visiting scholar at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, United States. He was again awarded the Great Cross of the National Order of Benin, the highest award in Benin, by President Yayi Boni.

In February 2017, Mahama received the 2016 African Political Leader of the Year Award from the African Leadership Magazine in South Africa.

In October 2022, Mahama was honoured by Liberty University with a Global Leadership and Economic Impact Award in Virginia, US.

5. First president born after Ghana’s independence

Born on 29 November 1958, Mahama becomes the first Ghanaian head of state to have been born after Ghana’s declaration of independence on 6 March 1957.

6. Employment at Embassy of Japan

Before he became president of Ghana, he worked in Accra as the information, culture and research officer at the Japanese embassy until 1995.

He then worked at the Ghana office of Plan International, a humanitarian and development organisation, as the international relations, sponsorship, communication and grants manager.

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